Trump hoped for a spectacle of victimization, plus a souvenir mugshot. Instead, he got no handcuffs, no mugshot and the shortest perp walk ever.
had reportedly hoped for a pageant of victimization on Tuesday when he surrendered on a 34-count indictment in Manahattan.
Instead, there were no handcuffs or souvenir mugshot. And while news cameras were allowed to capture the historic moment when an unshackled Trump was escorted into the courtroom, the stretch of hallway he traversed measured just five feet.
It was the shortest "perp walk" that New York City lawyers can remember.
"I'm sure it was a big disappointment for him," said attorney Ed Hayes, a 40-year veteran of New York City's courts. "It wasn't the spectacle he wanted it to be."
Hayes and other long-time New York lawyers say they have never seen booking take so little time either — just one hour and seven minutes. The process usually takes hours.
"All they did was take his prints," said Trump attorney Joe Tacopina. There was no mugshot taken, and Trump was not swabbed for the state and national DNA database, Tacopina said.
"The FBI already has his DNA. He was the president of the United States," he added.
Trump himself had said privately at Mar-a-Lago that he looks forward to being perp-walked and to being photographed by the press in handcuffs.
That would have been the normal course, said longtime New York City criminal defense attorney Stacey Richman.
Metal bike-rack style barricades are typically set up along a long hallway in Manhattan Criminal Court, she said, with high-profile defendants then "marched" in handcuffs past these press pens as the cameras record the moment.
"When the celebrity or demi-celebrity surrenders to the DA's office, they'll usually set up a pen for the press," she said. "Here, of course, there were different security concerns ... But a five-foot perp walk is extraordinary."
Richman also said that in her more than 30 years of experience, she's never seen a perp walk where the defendant was uncuffed.
"That is very significant. Because they say to everybody else that's part of the process. And it's a process that is very emotionally challenging to any free person," she said.
"I have people, similar to Mr. Trump, with zero criminal histories, presenting no danger to anyone, and they insist on cuffing them to walk them through the various booking processes in the building," she added.
Richman wonders if Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg insisted on not taking a mug shot because he "didn't want that to be used for fundraising" by his 2024 campaign.
Trump, widely considered to the GOP frontrunner, still sent a fundraising pitch off of a fake mugshot photo. His campaign has been fundraising since a Manhattan grand jury voted to indict him last Thursday. He claimed on Wednesday that he's raised almost $10 million.
But another seasoned defense attorney, Arthur Aidala, thinks that Trump's speedy bare-bones booking, and his minimalist perp walk, just made good sense.
"They wanted him in that building the shortest time possible — everyone did, the Secret Service, the court officers, the court system, everyone," Aidala said.
The chief of public safety for the New York state court system, Michael Magliano, and Dennis Quirk, who heads the state Court Officers Association, are in the perp walk photographs, pictured walking with Trump into the courtroom, Aidala noted.
"They all decided we don't need Trump in the building being booked from 6 a.m. until his arraignment at 2:30 in the afternoon," the lawyer said.
"I compliment them, because common sense prevailed," he added. "There are some circumstances where you just take the rulebook and you throw it out the window, and this is one of them."
Trump on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records connected to hush-money payments made ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen previously admitted to wiring a $130,000 payment to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels less than two weeks before the election, money that purchased her silence about an affair she alleged she had with Trump in 2006.
Cohen pleaded guilty to several felonies related to the payment and was sentenced to three years in prison in 2018.
Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels and any wrongdoing in connection with the payments.